Friday, May 20, 2016

Dreaming In Darkness.

Dreaming In Darkness.

Here is a basic question for you and don’t worry it is an easy one. Where do we dream? The answer, fundamentally, is that we dream in darkness.

Think about that for a moment. When you close your eyes, the world effectively goes black to you. On a base level, our minds are cut off from one of our primary senses and we surrender it over to its own devices as we began to shut down our body’s systems to allow everything to rest/recuperate.

And on some level, it is in that ethereal plane of void and shadow that some of our most vivid and bright moments are born. We call them dreams, but in truth they can be anything from unconscious fragments of thought, memories to unresolved fears and worries. My point is that is where some powerful parts of ourselves are born.

I know something about this, because if anyone is qualified to talk about such a subject; I am. Over the course of my life I have done so much sleeping. And not in the way you might expect.

As many people familiar with me are aware I suffer from two neurological conditions known as Narcolepsy and Cataplexy. Directly because of this I had to go for years before we had an accurate diagnosis or appropriate treatment. I’ve spent weeks and even months in a perpetual state of sleep.

While in any of these events, I could sometimes hear things around me and at others was lost to dreams. It is said, by both experts and those who suffer the shackles of sleep or plagued by the demons of dream (both are expressions I have used to inject some degree of humor into the discussion of my condition) that those with this problem tend to experience far more vivid and intense dreams.

While others might only dream while in the confines of their beds, we can involuntarily fluctuate in and out of REM sleep just walking around. We have no control over when we choose to drift off to sleep, let alone when we will awaken. Long story short, I can go from wide awake to deep sleep as rapidly as a light switch can be flipped.

I mention all of this as a matter of perspective. Two days ago, my son collapsed in the check out aisle at a local grocery store. Within moments I was packing him out to our vehicle. We had believed he suffered from a form of seizure and had been treating him accordingly. So, after the designated time had passed and his situation remained unchanged, we administered his emergency medication and called an ambulance.

By that evening my son couldn’t stay awake and it was decided to transport him and my Wife 4 hours by ambulance to a children’s hospital. The next day tests were being done and he spent the majority of the day asleep and unresponsive. In time, a neurologist reviewed his data and stated that this was not a seizure that he was suffering from.

All manner of thoughts and questions now flood through my thoughts. But at the core is the fact that, these doctors have admitted that they believe my son might share my affliction. This point leaves me conflicted.

It is terrifying beyond description to be frozen inside your body and unable to react. It is also a nightmare to awaken in a fright unaware of where you are or what is going on, especially if you suffer from paralysis via cataplexy or the like. To know that my child now might be experiencing the same thing pains me. And yet, it is a foe I already know…

In addition to this whole ordeal, our oldest son was airlifted last night as well to the same hospital with my Mother escorting him. There has been some debate regarding the authenticity of his symptoms but regardless they have to take it seriously when a child, even a 16 year old one, complains of numbness, tingling and loss of use of his legs or lower back.

In the meantime, I am confined to my home, trying to care for my two daughters and coordinate things from here as best I can. In many ways I feel as if I am trapped inside some terrible dream and unable to affect any impact on the real world.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Captain America: The Ultimate Guide to the First Avenger.

Captain America: The Ultimate Guide to the First Avenger.

For the record; I have to be completely honest here. As a child, I grew up living primarily through the lens of my own vivid imagination. And, as a scrawny little guy who suffered from an array of physical and mental problems it was no surprise that out of all the various superheroes out there that I would become enamored with one who started out in a similar fashion. I adored all things military and even strived to enlist only to be denied due to my health. All that aside, there was something special at the core of the character that I could see and have held dear ever since.

So, when Matt Forbeck reached out for anyone willing to review his latest work I happily volunteered. Upon discovering it wasn’t one of his typical novels, I didn’t mind as much. But, the second the words; “Captain America,” were mentioned, I was sold. And, let me just say; I was not disappointed.

Captain America: The Ultimate Guide to the First Avenger is a 200 page hardbound comprehensive guide to the history of one of Marvel’s most iconic figures. It is written by award-winning author, game-designer, Father of 5 and Marvel expert/fan Matt Forbeck. The book spans the long running history of Captain America, details many of his foes, friends and highlights note-worthy events/storylines. While written as a title for young readers (9-12 years old), it manages to be enjoyable to children of all ages.

The artwork in this book alone is worth the price on the cover. Entire pages are devoted to some of the most memorable moments from Cap’s career. Gorgeous two-page spreads are littered throughout like candy for the eyes. And, at every turn we are presented with classic panels taken right from the very pages of his exciting exploits.

Beginning with both the origins of the character’s creation and his fictional background we are given a foundation of who Steve Rogers is. And, lets I forget there is one monumental element that must be pointed out; Stan Lee himself wrote the forward for this book. The book moves on to track (almost) every element of Captain America’s run through the comics up to the present day. There is so much detail here to delight a fan and interest even a casual reader. Nothing is presented in such a way to be confusing to a young reader or someone unfamiliar, yet is done so in such a way that it doesn’t feel watered down or cheapened.

A whole wealth of information is also to be found, on not just Cap, but also on his many allies, enemies and supporting characters from over the years. Each character is given a detailed dossier on who they are, how they interacted with Cap and some of the more important story arcs they are a part of.

Every decade of Cap’s time is broken down into its own section to highlight key issues and stories that happened – including important developments to Cap both behind the scenes of publication and on the pages. A comprehensive timeline lists every major event to transpire throughout Cap’s long history in chronological order can be found early on in the book. Not only is there a contents page to guide you from the beginning but a remarkable index exists in the back of the book to help you painlessly sort through the pages for references to a character or event with key entries highlighted in bold.

The book is a gold mine of information that is a joy to simply read through. Even if you have yet to see the movies or recently watched them there is so much insight to be found by giving this book some time. You will not regret it, I can guarantee it.

Captain America: The Ultimate Guide to the First Avenger scores 5 amazing alternative shields for Cap, out of 5 in my book. Give it a try and let’s compare notes. You might just learn something that will change the way you see the character in all his many depictions…

*Special, Spoiler-Free Note: There is a lot they have gotten right in the movies that nobody may have noticed, especially recently. Have Fun!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Failure Failed.

People fail. They can fail in so many different spectacular ways. Some are even talented enough to be able to fail both when trying not to do so and when not even attempting to do anything.

When it comes to failure I tend to be somewhat of an expert. I fail to notice the most obvious signs that something would be unwise to say or do. I fail to remember the things I shouldn’t forget. I even manage to fail when trying only to provide assistance on the most basic of tasks.

To surmise; I am a master at failing.

But, at the end of the day, when everything is said and done one thing remains; the knowledge that one cannot fail forever. There is the perpetual hope, the faith and determination that despite the overwhelming amount of failure in your life that not everything is doomed to failure.

I guess it is safe to say that it is possible to fail at failing. You have to get things right once in awhile. All you have to do is persevere. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hypothetical Holidays.

Recent events have left me looking back on life and reviewing things somewhat. For instance, my birthday came and went this last November and not a single soul in my household noticed. Not one word was uttered to me aside from a flood of well wishes from friends and family online etc. for days. Now, to be fair and honest we had a lot going on - chiefly among them my son being taken by ambulance for seizures.

As a point of full disclosure, I did assure my Wife that the matter was not a big deal. There was a lot of things going on and I wasn't about to go full on diva to make them all about me. I am not that conceited or that important, even in my own estimation. But it still did hurt.

But all this did get me to thinking on a lot of other holidays. It brought to mind Christmas gatherings, Birthdays; you name it. One thing a lot of them had in common was disappointment. Now I am not bemoaning a lack of gifts or that anything I ever received wasn't appreciated. I have always been happy to receive anything but over the years have come to avoid opportunities for others to give them.

I realize this will sound bad no matter how I say it, so, let me just try to get this bit out of the way. People have never seemed to take the time to really get to know me. It is not a biased view or opinion - it is a fact. This includes family, friends, pretty much everyone (with a few precious exemptions who know who they are).

People would always expect me to be exploding with joy that their gift was some prized jewel. Yet it wouldn't have any real appeal or value to me. I could care less about the money involved. What mattered to me was the heart of the gift, the intent. I can recall some of the most cherished gifts ever given to me and they all held importance in my heart because of who gave them, their meaning or some other arbitrary aspect. The point being; I could be happy with a free give away token or the ball out of an old-fashioned computer mouse. I am far from what you could describe as high-maintenance.

What I am trying to get at is that so many people don't think before they gift. And if they do think it is only some generic assumption that really only serves as a 'what will be convenient for me.' Instead it should be about deciding what might be meaningful to the recipient.

You don't even have to give someone a gift. Honest. But, and I can only speak for myself, when you receive a gift it is possible to appreciate the gesture, be grateful, and yet still feel guilty that you can't give the giver the big reaction they are expecting.

I don't know if this is therapy or curiosity or what but I'd like to try a little experiment. Let's see how well you know me with a little hypothetical holiday gift giving (this might be the best gift you can give and it is free). The rules are simple; money is not an issue, nor is availability. All you need do is offer up what you think might be a welcome gift and I'll see if I can reciprocate. Then we can compare notes to see if we both would have enjoyed it or not.

And go...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pawn Promotion.

Preface: My Wife and I had the fortune to meet some 15 years ago this year. What not everyone may be aware of is the exact nature of that meeting. We didn't connect through some online dating site or any traditional in-person scenarios that are more commonly experienced. 

Back in those days I had grown to become the primary storyteller for my friends for all manner or games set within the World of Darkness. Chiefly among them was Vampire: The Masquerade. When one of my friends met a girl online who was interested in trying, specifically; the live-action variant of that game, they immediately recommended that she talk to me about it. 

We spoke at length for a long time. At first about the game itself and then about life in general. We both eventually decided to meet and everything just progressed. A year later we were married. 14 years beyond that we are still married and enjoying our adventure together. (Along with a whole clan of four little minions of our own.)

So every year around this time I find myself looking back. On this particular instance, I found a culmination of events that transpired to make me want to embrace that old fictional landscape again; if even only for a little while. And, since I hadn't written anything in a awhile, I figured I could try to use it as motivation to pen something together. 

Now, this may not be the perfect tale. Nor, is it perhaps, the most refined. But out of fond memories I decided to dive back in and see what I could shape. This is what came from it. 

I hope it proves to be a fun piece and is enjoyed. 

Happy Halloween.

Enjoy the night.


“Knight takes bishop,” Peter Paxton, Prince of Paducah proclaimed with cold satisfaction. Fingers of living ivory, long and slender, caressed the small horse-headed piece of sculpted flesh. He savored the moment before removing the pointed chess piece of carved bone from the board. In the firelight, eyes as dark as coal drank in the setting laid before them.

Leisurely, the Prince took everything in. On his side of the board there was not a single pawn left standing. They had already been sacrificed early in the game.

His opponent still held the lions’ share of his own pawns. However he had lost his queen in the earliest exchanges of the game. To further weaken his position, all his adversary had left to marshal a defense was a single rook, knight and bishop.

The Prince smiled with anticipation. His grin was an exaggerated expression that only highlighted his unnatural features. Paxton had cheekbones that were shark-like in nature; symmetrical, and sharply angled. Just touching them gave the impression that you would cut yourself.

Everything about Paxton read predator all the way down to his pointed chin. It jutted out from beneath steepled fingers accentuating a look of devilish charm. Even the smooth flowing hair of black silk draped down his back seemed suited as it soaked in the flickering light.

“Leticia, be a doll and remove this,” the Prince casually called out to one of his servants. At his bidding a short woman with porcelain skin and the features of a child’s toy appeared. She moved without uttering a word, albeit in stiff mechanical motions.

Leticia came to a stop just short of the table with a shuffled jerk. When she leaned forward, she had to bend at the waist to collect what remained of a limp form from the floor. Her coarse blond pigtails dangling as she tugged the figure away.

Seated opposite from the Prince and his arrayed pieces of shaped flesh was an enigmatic Kindred. Newly arrived to his domain, he had only recently presented himself before the Prince to be acknowledged, as is the formal custom. Curiously, all Paxton had to go on was the information his guest had offered; that his name was Warren Howard and his lineage was that of the Ventrue clan.

This posed a peculiar puzzle for the Volgirre Toreador to consider. Quite often the Ventrue were rivals with Toreador in all social matters, not to mention when it came to ruling. Yet, this Warren had not made a single move to subvert the Prince or establish any powerbase of his own. What game could he be playing, the Prince thought to himself. Although, it didn’t matter right now, in this game he was certain to lose.

Warren Howard was a sharp contrast to the Prince’s onyx cashmere-suited cutting edge fashion. Seated behind a set of polished bone chess pieces, Warren wore a simple grey shirt and tie complete with vest. The sleeves of his shirt had been rolled up along his forearms and as he reflectively contemplated the board there was no sign of concern to be seen.

Absently, Warren stroked at his beard. He had always kept it well groomed but could never tolerate it being any shorter. There was a reassuring quality to being able to brush it between your fingers. It was also a useful gesture, one he liked to use at times like this.

The Prince monitored all the potential moves that he expected Warren to make with murderous anticipation. Motion drew his eye away from an area of the board he had been watching to see Warren make his move. A single pawn advanced one square.

The move didn’t threaten any of the Prince’s pieces. In fact, it didn’t even position the pawn anywhere close to his pieces or where any of the exchanges had been taking place. There was no logic to it that he could fathom.

Didn’t he know he was going to lose? Why wasn’t he even trying to put up a fight? While Paxton debated whether or not his opponent was just distracted or incompetent, Warren politely motioned that it was his turn.

The beast inside Paxton roused itself. He was growing irritated by Warren’s apparent lack of interest in winning. “Are you even trying,” the Prince spat the question. “You do realize; the entire point of this game is to be the winner, don’t you?”

For a brief moment there was no response. Paxton despised being ignored and with each second his frustration mounted. By the time Warren replied he had already begun to toy with the idea of killing him.

“Pardon me,” Warren politely apologized. “But, what were you saying?” It was perhaps the first time all evening that those eyes of warm walnut had been fixed upon the Prince. Within their depths he could find no discernable pretense, only an honest sincerity that he was oblivious to the questions intent.

“Precisely this,” the Prince declared. To punctuate his point he moved in to threaten Warren’s remaining bishop. A cruel grin sliding a notch higher while he savored his foe’s inevitable defeat.

“You play this game quite poorly, I am afraid,” he chastised. “If anyone was going to give me a challenge I thought that it would be a Ventrue. Instead you offer only disappointment where I had hoped for entertainment.”

“Quite the opposite,” Warren countered. Without another look at the board, the visiting Ventrue advanced his pawn one final space to land it on the Prince’s back row. “The truth is: we are simply playing different games. Regarding the matter at hand; I believe a promotion is in order and since the position is open I think queen would be a nice fit.”

The Prince’s fist closed tightly as he studied the board. “Why, you little…” he began to protest before dismissing the situation with a wave of his hand. “It is no matter; a lone queen will not save you from an entire game of folly. Make no mistake; you will lose. And when you do, I think it only appropriate that I levy some penalty. You will bring before me double the mandatory patronage.”

Paxton had to wonder how he could have missed that pawn. Had he been so focused on the other pieces that he hadn’t realized it was near his back row? Furious at the oversight he rushed a rook into position to capture this new queen before it could even be of use.

“Patronage,” Warren asked, showing no sign of concern for his threatened queen. In fact, Warren didn’t even return his attention to the chess board at all. Instead, he raised a single eyebrow and patiently awaited the Prince’s explanation.

“All subjects within my domain are required to submit raw materials for use in the pursuit of art,” Paxton purred. Warren immediately took note of the obvious pleasure the Toreador exhibited about the subject. The Prince’s very eyes brightened into gleaming orbs of obsidian just mentioning it.

“My work demands components for me to shape, sculpt and transform,” the Prince continued. “There is a certain beauty, one that can be found all around - yet only those with true vision can see it. It is just below the surface; waiting and I draw it out. All I need is a more exotic form of clay.”

This was the admission that Warren had been waiting for. All the pieces were in place. Warren had all the evidence he needed – it all made sense now.

The exaggerated features, the doll sculpted servant, even the chess pieces themselves. Prince Paxton had been clearly abusing his position to indulge his own whims. While Paducah struggled against Sabbat and Anaarch incursions the Prince toyed with his play-things.

There had been rumors, whispers that had escaped Paxton’s iron grip influence over the local media. But information always has a way of getting out; especially when any of clan Nosferatu is involved. It was just a matter of time before the Camarilla became aware of Paxton’s dangerous disregard for the Traditions.

Warren had been tasked with verifying those claims and then, if necessary, dealing with the situation. Not that he minded; he despised corrupt and unfit rulers. Long before his embrace, Warren had found himself driven to act against those who didn’t deserve the responsibility or power of their position. Nothing compared with the sense of justice when that misplaced authority was removed from them.

The Prince had moved his rook into position to capture Warren’s new queen. But in his haste there was one thing he hadn’t bothered to consider: the potential of being baited into a trap. He had been so concerned with addressing his damaged pride that he had played right into Warren’s hand.

Anticipating the reaction, Warren already had another lowly pawn waiting. In one swift stroke it slid over and seized the flesh rook, landing on the back row in the process. “Queening,” declared Warren.

Paxton watched on in complete disbelief. He was forced to turn all his attention from attacking to defending. Every trick he tried failed him. One by one his pieces were dispatched by a growing army of promoted pawns. The peasants had been transformed into a brutal mob and they were revolting.

“Of all the pieces on a chess board, the pawn has the most potential,” Warren began to explain with an instructor’s detached demeanor. “It was a mistake to throw them all away without any thought as to their value. Every single piece has strengths that you can use; you just have to appreciate what you can do with them.

But, that wasn’t your first error. The very first mistake you made was when you sat down thinking you were playing a game. You weren’t. You were playing me.

This game was lost before it began. All I needed to do was to observe you. I studied you in order to gain some understanding.

You see everyone and everything as being beneath you. All that matters to you is your time in the spotlight. The reason you are being defeated by mere pawns is because you are too blinded, deluded and incompetent to see the real threat. For the sake of your depraved whims, you threaten the safety of us all and call it art. I cannot find one single merit in you that would make you worthy of the title of Prince.”

“Insolence,” Paxton bellowed, slamming his hands onto the table. The impact sent the tyrant Toreador vaulting upright and into a standing position. “I’ll not sit here and be talked to like this, not by an unknown Ventrue who is a guest in my house.

Allow me to educate you, if your own sire neglected this important lesson; those in power make the rules. Do not pretend that you can speak to me in this fashion and not leave unscathed. I have plenty of pawns, ones that are far from pieces on a board and they will most certainly not be playing when they clap you in chains.”

Resembling a triumphant madman, the Prince grinned sadistically. Paxton decided to indulge himself in a short chuckle before he announced his opponent’s fate. The dramatic tone was just too delicious.

“Seize this ignorant fool,” he ordered, leveling a finger towards Warren. Yet, the Ventrue remained unruffled. If he had even blinked, Paxton hadn’t noticed.

Then Warren looked back down at the choice board. There was something in the gesture that drew the Prince’s gaze as well. Two short words fell from Warren’s lips. “Check. Mate.”

The very air itself grew still and heavy. Suddenly nobody moved. Every figure that had been moving towards the table at the center of the room now stood frozen in place.

A thick fog seized at their minds. Behind their eyes a heavy weight took hold as a will not their own overwhelmed them. Alongside it was a voice, speaking in a clear, concise tone. It spoke a command that none of them could ignore.

When you hear the words: check mate, you will stop whatever you are doing, the voice instructed. The servants might as well have been statues made of stone. They were helpless against the crushing authority that now dominated their actions.

How could this be happening? Paxton tried to search his thoughts for some clue that would make sense of everything. There was simply no way that his entire staff could have been tampered with. Unless…

The night the Prince first laid eyes upon Warren Howard, he had only just arrived within the domain of the Prince’s Praxis. As was the formal custom, he presented himself straight-away to be acknowledged. The Ventrue had even made it a point, as Paxton recalled, to personally speak with everyone attending. That included thanking all of the Prince’s retainers for the hospitality of their master.

There were those among the Kindred with the ability to dominate the minds of others by asserting their own will over them. Paxton knew it. One of his sire’s own associates had once forced him to remove himself from a debate with a single word. Without any idea it had even happened he had found himself sitting back in his seat.

Was it possible that this upstart could have accomplished something similar, yet on a larger scale? No, Paxton’s beast screamed at him, begging for release. There was no way that this Ventrue could have been so clever. Not in a single night and with the Prince watching.

All he needed to do was deal with this whelp and be done with this foolishness. The Camarilla would never send someone to formally challenge him in such a manner. No, they would have just quietly destroyed him if they had truly suspected.

The gears began to turn within the Prince’s mind. Formality, yes – that was the key. This Ventrue was a sucker for doing everything properly. All Paxton needed was an opportunity and he could demonstrate the beauty in pain. If Warren was so keen on custom then all the Prince had to do was be patient; he would have the chance he needed.

“I have not always had this name,” Warren said solemnly. “A long time ago, I was known as Jack Cade and back then there was different monarch standing across from me. His name was Henry VI and much like you he had betrayed the people’s trust.

I think I will offer you the same proposition that I made him. All you have to do is to admit defeat. Surrender and I will take my leave. It is that simple.”

The Prince had never had any head for history. Even back in his mortal days thinking about the past had just always felt like a waste of time. This Henry fellow sounded important but he could have been ancient history, for all he cared. Not that it mattered; this Warren could never have actually threatened anyone important. It had to be some kind of silly trick, a bluff, no doubt.

It would be an empty victory, Paxton promised himself. Let him think he had bested him. In a moment his back would be turned and then he would find just how twisted his flesh could become. Vengeance would be sweet indeed.

A spiteful sneer crawled across the Prince’s face. “Very well,” he said sarcastically, not bothering to conceal his scorn. “Enjoy your little petty victory, I promise you it is only fleeting. I resign.”

Chaos engulfed the room in one terrifying moment. The second that the words “I resign,” left the Prince’s lips, Warren bowed courteously. Paxton threw himself into a lunge, eager to fuse the Ventrue’s very mouth closed and every servant exploded into motion.

The same powerful force that had frozen them in place had become an unwavering need to act. It spoke to them with the same voice. This time it told them; when you hear the words ‘I resign,’ you will tear the one who spoke them to pieces. And they obeyed.

In violent fashion the ruthless group grabbed, punched, kicked, tore and bit at the Prince. They fell on top of him before he could even lay a finger on his intended prey. Instead he could only howl in agonizing torment as the weight of his attackers bore him down.

Knocked off the table a single chess piece tumbled to the floor. It rolled into a spattering of fresh blood. The irony was both amusing and satisfying for Warren as he turned to leave.

The king had fallen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Drifting Anchors.

For each of us, we have our anchors; those very things that ground us and keep us focused. For me it has always been a deep seated routine and habitual nature. However, as a counter balance to this I have also always been driven by a knack for being consumed by a passion to the point of what I confess could be called obsession. It has been a strength and a weakness.

What makes me good at some of the things I do is this very ability to immerse myself in a project and so long as I have something like it to direct my efforts everything goes well for me. The problem therein though lays with my very nature. It is when I lose that project or activity that I can direct my time and attention on that I fall apart.

As an example; I have often fallen into a routine in my mornings where I spend a portion of my time working on a story or some other activity. Inevitably though, I finish the story off or something in my life happens that completely destroys my habitual pattern. It can be anything from an unfortunate surge in my daily deluge of drowsiness due to my Narcolepsy to my children falling ill. It doesn't much matter what the reason is; all that matters is the fact that once my pattern is disturbed it can be hard for me to recover.

This may be interpreted by some as an excuse or just a lack of commitment. I mean, let's face it; if someone said they couldn't complete a simple task because they were interrupted that would be some pretty weak tea. I am not saying by any means that if I have to step away from working on something that I am forced to completely forgo any efforts to complete it. Far from it.

What I am saying is this; if I begin working on a story or project and fall into a daily routine/pattern of spending x amount of time on it, completing a set degree of progress or doing a specific part of it at a regular interval then if something disrupts me I may not exactly be able to get myself back on track easily. There have been times where I had a completed piece of work before me, but as I was trying to revise/refine it something occurred that prevented me from resuming my regular routine. By the time I was able to whatever factors that had me in the appropriate creative environment were gone.

Imagine being in the mood for Italian food but all you can spare the time for is a street vendor hot dog or supermarket check-out candy bar. You can always eat it and go on but it doesn't necessarily satisfy you. For me it can be like that if the various circumstances behind the scene place me in the mindset for a science fiction tale when I had been working on something fantasy based. I may still be able to produce something but without that drive it never turns out quite the same.

I've said it before; a writer can always write something - even if it is just something about a cheese sandwich. A repair man can also patch up a problematic part. It doesn't mean that it is a perfect fix. Sometimes it is just something that will work and get you by.

Myself, I am a husband and Father of four children. My youngest son struggles with a generalized anxiety disorder as well as obsessive compulsive tendencies and my youngest daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even without considering their own problems, my health or the innate issues of four children interacting in a small house etc it should be obvious to grasp how easily life can disrupt your schedule.

Over the last few years I have had to have surgeries on my wrist, my neck and lost all feeling from the shoulder down in my right arm along with a good measure of function from it. And I am right handed. This hasn't exactly helped my productivity, I'm afraid.

However, with that said I have been working on a story I began some time back recently. Trying to jump back into it and get myself back into a routine to occupy my mind. Even with extensive notes or previous work to guide me it isn't without difficulty to drop back into a story in the middle and try to move forward without problems.

While working on this story I was contacted regarding another old story, or I should say an initial part of one. Albeit vague, interest was expressed in the potential continuation of the tale. A topic of which I can admit (like most of my stories) that there may exist more written about or at the very least some detailed notes covering the direction of things.

Even when things throw me off track that doesn't mean I have completely drifted free from my anchor. I may not be able to return to every story or project and for those that I do it may take some time. But I don't generally just start something without intending to finish it. I need something to direct my passion, I rely on a routine I can focus myself on. Sometimes I get blown off course and I have to engage in alternate tasks until I can find my way back.

I doubt I will ever be able to quit being anything other than what I am. To anyone else out there governed by a similar nature I can only wish that your own anchors, regardless of how much you may find yourself drifting away from them, remain tethered enough that you never lose them.

Stay anchored, stay driven and do what you love. Life will always be there to rock the boat.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Giggles & Good Times.

Giggles & Good Times.

Yesterday afternoon I did something that I haven’t attempted in so many years that I scarcely can hazard a guess at how long it truly has been. I must confess that I ended up at the short end of the struggling against sleep stick on the ride there, home and eventually found myself somehow still in my chair instead of my bed. It was a wonderful experience. Honestly, I don’t even regret a moment of it.

My Wife and I took all four of our kids, along with my father-in-law and did our usual 1st of the month dinner at a local restaurant. However, we made one small change to our typical routine. We invited two old friends of mine and their daughter to join us.

And they did!

Now, for most people this in and of itself is probably a regular night out – completely without the merit of being worth mentioning. For us on the other hand it was a big deal. With the exception of my own immediate family we just simply do not do this sort of thing often for a variety of reasons. To put it bluntly; when you factor in my own troubles, our children, the size of our family, a limited financial flexibility and an innate avoidance for some of the more ‘normal’ activities people our age tend to gather for we just don’t get that many opportunities to go out.

That said the experience was altogether pleasant. There was a wealth of giggles all around and enough understanding to exclude any problems. It wasn’t anything special; mostly we just ate and shared some friendly conversation.

I hadn’t seen my friends since high school, aside from an occasional run in here and there. These were people I grew up that knew me well and I can say we instantly feel back into familiar patterns. Hence the abundance of audible amusement we all shared. I see precious few people who knew me from my childhood and even less who actually can tell you my name. For me, it was like winning the lottery.

The whole family had a blast. Even my Wife and children talked the whole way home and into the night about how much fun they had. In fact, my youngest daughter has already claimed that she has a brand new friend and was trying to set up more opportunities to get together with them.

I can only hope that we were not the only ones who had a good time but my gut tells me that I’m not far off by saying that we all probably did. Perhaps in the future more such events might be in store, who knows. Yet, should the chance not present itself for a repeat any time soon I know that I will enjoy the memory of so much laughter for a very long time.